How Great Thou Part

A few year’s ago my son lost his friend and he said to me, “Mom, what is Great Falls going to do without Brendan Kelly?” 

Tonight, I felt anxious after being away for a week and already a bit off schedule in my writing.

In fact, this was the first time so much time elapsed between my entries. I logged onto the computer and was immediately kicked off. I then spent the better part of two hours trying to log back on. My frustration continued to build.

In the eighteen years, I have lived in my house, I have never experienced such a prolonged inability to connect to the internet. Unless, of course, it was weather related.


I was ready to abandon my efforts. I tried one last time and rather than immediately write my column, I clicked on an email from a friend. It was a beautifully written note, reminding us to remember the love, spirit, and magic of a special boy named Brendan Kelly and it included the following article written after his untimely loss just before he turned sixteen.

As I read the article, I cried. I cried not just for Brendan and his family, but as I remembered the stories of his Saint like presence. The unexplainable things which seemed to accompany his being. 

Brendan was not only a gift, he was gifted and miracles accompanied his prayer.

One day I remember running into his parents. They told me they worried when his medical problems made him fall a year behind. Brendan suffered from Downs Syndrome and they feared a new class of children may not be as good to him as the class, he was forced to abandon.

“Your son has been so kind to our Brendan,” they said gratefully.

But I knew the truth. My son had not been kind to Brendan he had been taken by Brendan.

He would come home and tell me he had found the most hysterical friend. Someone who made him laugh and who was really silly and who loved video games just as he did.

Brendan had a profound sense of humor and it pulled those around him in. And better yet, Brendan sensed his gift (one of many) and the kids did not focus on his Downs Syndrome, quite the contrary, they focused on him. Brendan was an individual and he was a leader.

I know, something one may not believe would accompany a child with Down’s but it did. Brendan Kelly was a leader. Children gravitated towards him and when illness kept him from school, his friends made their way outside the school to sing to him. All the while knowing, if he could not walk the halls with them, they would keep him germ-free and meet him outside those halls.

I think rather than his medical problems preventing him from moving forward with one class, God was making sure Brendan shared his wealth.

As I read my friend’s email tonight, the article reminded me of Brendan’s funeral when the priest reminded us we could and should pray to Brendan. That he was a special child and even the priest recognized in his interactions with Brendan he had a remarkable gift.

About a week ago, I ran into my friend Maura, Brendan’s mother.

I don’t see her often and yet, I felt the urgency to invite myself to her house. She rides horses and I hoped to see her barn. I have wanted to do this for some time. I just never felt compelled enough to ask her.

Tonight before I attempted to log on, I had some personal worries.

In the past days, I have done a lot of praying for my son because my divorce has been so long and as the youngest, he has experienced the worst of it.

I do not think it a coincidence that his friend, a child who at four years old with the Make A Wish Foundation asked to meet the Pope rather than travel to Disney World found his way to me.

I think Brendan was reminding me that I should pray to him or perhaps he was indicating he heard my prayers.

I think he was telling me he would make sure his friend laughed hysterically again. 

Just as he did when Brendan said something funny in class or did something unexpected at the lunch table.

I think Brendan was reminding me he is still there when we need him.

He wants me to remember an inkling of the unexplainable mysteries and joys we knew he was capable of.

I think he was saying Great Falls, doesn’t need to worry about what they will do without him…because he never left us.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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